Today’s episode is brought to life from the archives, the last interview ever conducted with India Supera, the Feathered Pipe Ranch founder and visionary, who passed away in October 2019 at 73 years old. India was a force of nature and her life holds within in it some of the most exciting stories of adventure, courage, devotion and faith.
India left home as a teenager for the adventure of foreign travel. After nearly dying in Pakistan, she began a spiritual quest in India and eventually found Satya Sai Baba, who is considered an avatar by millions of people. After living at Sai Baba’s ashram for two and a half years, she was brought back to the U.S. to care for her friend, Jerri Duncan. Within a year, Jerri died of cancer and left India 110 acres of land outside of Helena, MT—and a dying wish that she would help turn it into a healing center.
Owning land and living in America was far from India’s plan. For a year, she gave away furniture, thought about selling the land, meditated on the purpose of this inheritance, and held sweat lodge ceremonies to pray and connect with spirits, asking for guidance for the way forward. She even returned to India to call on Sai Baba’s wisdom. “Teach what you know,” he said. “Make it a place for leaders.”
After making the difficult transition from penniless sadhu to administrator, India established the Feathered Pipe Ranch as a nationally known center for seminars in the field of yoga, holistic health and personal transformation.
For 44 years, India Supera floated around the property at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, welcoming new guests like old family, sharing meals on the lawn, and stories in front of the stone fireplace. Stories that included tales of her travels in the 1960s and the extraordinary circumstances that led to her vision for America’s first healing center of its kind.
The 2019 season, however, was different. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given two weeks to two months to live. Leaving her in full preparation mode for the ultimate adventure into the unknown—the transition of her body and transcendence of her soul.
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Andy Vantrease (00:17):
Welcome to the Dandelion Effect podcast, a space for organic conversation about the magic of living, a connected life. Just like the natural world around us, we are all linked through an intricate web, a never-ending ripple that spans across the globe. Here we explore the ideas that our guests carry through the world, remember who and what inspired them along the way, and uncover the seeds that help them blossom into their unique version of this human experience. This podcast is a production of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, whose mission is to help people find their direction through access to programs and experiences that support healing, education, community, and empowerment.
Hi everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Dandelion Effect podcast. I’m your host, Andy Vantrease, and today I have a really special announcement and a really special episode to share with you. First, the announcement, before we get into today’s conversation. I wanna update you all on what’s happening over here with the Dandelion Effect podcast as we move into autumn and away from a bustling summer and a very full, uh, retreat season at the Feathered Pipe Ranch. So after 10 months of these beautiful life changing conversations on the podcast, we’ve decided to wrap up season one and we’re gonna take a few months off to debrief, rest, and compost, what we just did to take a look back on who we spoke with, what topics we covered, which episodes seem to have the most impact for you all, as well as taking time to hone the vision of this project and what bridges we wanna build, how we can be most effective, and who we wanna speak to in the future.
This is a time of year when nature is slowing down after a long summer, and I’m really feeling the need to do the same, to practice what this beautiful world preaches and allow time to turn inward and listen for what’s next. All of our episodes will live on the platforms for listening at any time. Please go back and visit the conversations that you didn’t get to over the last year. Share them with your friends. Write to me about which ones resonated with you, and please share any feedback you have about what you’d like to see and hear next as we move into season two. I’m also interested in who you’d like to hear from as a guest on the show. If you have a dream guest or a dream conversation that you want to hear happen as part of the Dandelion Effect podcast, tell me.
Please email email@example.com. Tell me the name of the guest, kind of who they are and why you wanna hear from them, and we’ll see what we can do. Today’s episode is one that I have brought to life from the archives, the last interview ever conducted with India Supera, the Feathered Pipe Ranch, founder and visionary who passed away in October of 2019 at 73 years old. Today, September 4th is her birthday. And we wanted to honor her by sharing some of her wisdom and words with this incredible community that we have. India, as you all know, or maybe you don’t know, is and was a force of nature and her life holds within it some of the most exciting stories of adventure, courage, devotion, and faith stories that I just can’t get enough of. And I couldn’t get enough of them when she was alive. And now going back over them has just been a really special project for me these last couple weeks.
A little bit about India for those that did not get a chance to meet her. She left home in her teens for the adventure of foreign travel. And after nearly dying in Pakistan, she began a spiritual quest in India and eventually found Sai Baba who was considered an avatar by millions of people around the world. After living at Saba’s Ashram for about two and a half years, she was brought back to the US to care for her friend Jerry Duncan. Within a year, Jerry died of cancer and she left India 110 acres of land outside of Helena, Montana. And a dying wish that India would help turn it into a healing center. Now owning land and living in the United States was far from India’s plan. For a year, she gave away furniture, thought about selling the land, meditated on the purpose of this inheritance, and held sweat lodge ceremonies to pray and connect with spirits, asking for guidance for the way forward.
She even returned to India to call on her teacher Sai Baba’s wisdom, teach what you know. He said, make it a place for leaders. And so, after making the difficult transition from a penniless sadhu to an administrator, India established the Feathered Pipe Ranch as a nationally known center for seminars in the fields of yoga, holistic health, and personal transformation. For 44 years, she floated around the property at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, welcoming new guests like old family, sharing meals on the lawn, and stories in front of the stone fireplace. Stories that included the tales of her travels in the 1960s and the extraordinary circumstances that led to her vision for America’s first healing center of its kind. The 2019 season, however, was different. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and she was given two weeks to two months to live. It left her in full preparation mode for the ultimate adventure into the unknown, the transition of her body and transcendence of her soul.
In the wake of the news, India asked me to visit her cabin to listen as she reconciled the magic and mystery of her life and ponder what’s next in the presence of an eager ear. With 40 years between us, there was so much I wanted to ask her to learn from her, to preserve, from the woman I considered a teacher, an elder, and a fairy grandmother to me. And as I visited her, I really sensed my own attachments to our relationship. I was desperate to keep her here, yet her steady surrender to what is, to the reality of what was happening, it continued to guide me back. So this day I walked quietly into the bedroom where she rested and slid my body across the foot of her bed next to her cats who were dutifully standing guard, but willing to share the space with me. After some shuffling for the four of us to find comfort, we began as all good stories do somewhere in the beginning. And this is a bit of a mixture. It is that last interview that I did with her, woven in with a conversation that Amy Stephan, a dear friend of the ranch, and I had with India just a few weeks after. So these were in July of 2019, and they were the last recorded conversations of this kind with India before she passed. So I hope that you enjoy, I hope that this gives you a warm feeling in your heart as we remember, uh, one of the best people to walk this earth in my opinion. And we celebrate her birth, we celebrate her life, and we celebrate someone who truly changed people’s lives. And we hope that we carry that on at the Feathered Pipe Ranch and carry on her legacy. So without further ado, please help me welcome my friend India Supera.
India Supera (07:48):
We were culturally Jewish. It was because our mother was. That’s just how it is, you know? But my parents felt a lot like I do that spirit’s a larger thing than a religion. And that religion’s caused a lot of problems. And so the best thing to do is kind of create a feeling where everything felt safe and whole and beautiful, but it wasn’t necessarily a religion. We went to temple a little bit because they built one in our neighborhood. And that was kind of nice. I mean, for conservative Jews, it’s really, it’s social. So we had our grandmother who could do amazing things like read Tarot and what psychic kids can be. We had our mother, who was also totally psychic. VJ never kind of claimed hers, but she’s very, very psychic also. And then my father was an artist, which made his spirit close to the soul.
He read a lot of books about Hinduism and you know, all kinds of philosophy. But he was quite interested in those things. Now I can’t ever having anybody put a religious thought on me. My grandfather died when I was seven. He lived in these little track homes in California and in between there was like a space that they put the meters for your electric and stuff. But it was always grassy. And I, and I went in there to lay down to think about contemplating my grandfather’s death. And I had out of the body experience and little kids out of the body experience cuz I left my body and I was floating around with dogs that looked like Winton, the famous dog. And um, and I became very frightened at death actually. And I, everything that happened to me after my grandfather died, if I poke my finger on a rose or step on a place of gas or do something you’d do every day as a kid, I would ask my mother if I was going to die. You know, I mean I just became kind of upset.
Andy Vantrease (09:56):
Right. And trying to figure out what that actually meant. And…
India Supera (09:59):
But that all went by his way. And then when my grandmother died, when I was 13, 14, every seven years my grandmother lived with us. So I was real close, like in the old European way. And she always babysit us. And just a couple weeks before she died, our dog died. So it was just like we were at the double death. You know, your dogs are very important to you even as a child. So my grandmother came back to me the night she was buried. I remember this so distinctly cuz uh, our parents never really discouraged us. Also, they never put an a word like, oh, you should be doing this or you should be dead. So then I had a conference with my grandmother about death and wellbeing cuz she looked so good when she came. It was the first time I ever experienced coming back kind of as their middle age. So that was really, really nice. But my mom came out and she asked me what I was doing. I said, skipper the dog and my grandmother were in the living room. And I was eating a carrot. <laugh> She said, okay, well when you finish this hair, come to bed. And I remember like, you try to interfere or think what was your grandmother thinking or anything like that.
Andy Vantrease (11:16):
Right. Did you have any role models or mentors or anybody in your early life that you looked up to?
India Supera (11:25):
Just my parents and my grandmother, I would actually say my father was my mentor. Cuz while he carried none of that spiritual psychic stuff with him, he treated everyone with such equality and it didn’t matter what color they were, this was all the way. My dad was born in 1914, so, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It wasn’t a time when people were necessarily kind to each other, but everybody, he was so kind. You know, my dad was one of these people I think like Will Rogers in a way cuz he was very funny but not like commercial funny, but could just talk to anyone walking down the street. You know, it didn’t matter who they were, what their job was, how dirty they were, how clean they were, they were in a suit, you know, driving a Mercedes. If they start to talk to him, he had time to talk to them.
Andy Vantrease (12:13):
I’d say you definitely carried that on.
India Supera (12:18):
He was so sweet. My mother was so brilliant. I mean it just, uh, so many ways. I mean she was a pioneer when she was born. I always tell people woman couldn’t vote. Well you all know that it was 1911 when she born, but she fought for a lot of other stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, she was really involved in politics in her day and, and I don’t talk a lot about my parents cuz it’s so hard to put in your, what they were, you know, they were so far from parents that, you know, made you and you know, brushed your hair every day. Yeah. That kind of thing. But my mother had these real peculiar things. She didn’t want us to learn to type cuz she didn’t want us to be secretary. That was part of her thing about teaching us about sexual harassment.
And she didn’t want us to babysit cuz she didn’t want us to be domestic worker. But she had some very odd little things. But she didn’t want us working in offices. Okay. Which I think is really unusual cuz at that time your daughter became a teacher, a nurse, and worked in her office, clerks in stores and stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But um, she had her own business and she just did everything. She was a detective. Wow. She was a, um, a private detective. She traveled all over and had someone threw acid at her. And I think that was enough. She was a newspaper reporter. There were just so many things that she did that were unusual to our time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I feel they were my pivotal example and my dad’s sign of a good time would be to do calculus with his friends on some hard problems.
You know, or Star Trek was the only thing I ever watched for my dad’s friend, Doc, I’m over watch TV together. But you know, they didn’t, they didn’t watch TV if they were together, they numbers or, so I liked all those people too. And then people ask about, you know, cuz my dad adopted Howard and kind of helped him through school and I don’t know why his own parents wouldn’t do it. They had lots more money than we did. But he helped them through school and he just loved Howard. And he went out to the gay bars with Howard, you know, cuz Howard never had done that by himself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Their out at the bar, you know, and he says to Howard, he said, you know what a great world this would be if people could just love who they love. And then he just gave Howard permission to come out gay. Yeah. I mean he was, he was out gay. He was already in the clubs and the bath and the bar. The, his parents just never, you know, they never acknowledged it. But Jules fully acknowledged him and made him feel whole as a person. And so that was really revolutionary. Was Oh, is that guy with you, Howard? He is. He my dad.
Andy Vantrease (15:08):
So the first time I know that you left home was to go down to Mexico.
India Supera (15:12):
Right. I didn’t go directly to Mexico. I had a wander less. And I did go to school in um, Pacific Grove. There was a junior college there that was really nice. Pacific Grove was beautiful place on the beach. You could rent houses for $54 at the water came in your back window almost. I mean was so incredible. Yeah. But of course instead of going to school, I wanted to do something interesting. And that was to travel. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So you know, the whole area was one giant big artist community. If there was a hippie community in San Francisco, it didn’t even match this because, you know, Steinway set that up. Writers and people have been going to Pacific Grove forever. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that was really nice. Then I picked up with some people who went to Mexico, but that’s when my dad came with me because he didn’t, well he didn’t particularly like the people but he wanted to go to Mexico.
Andy Vantrease (16:11):
<laugh>. Yeah. Don’t you say like you’re the only 16 year old who ran away and your dad came with you.
India Supera (16:16):
My dad went with me. I always loved that story and it’s so true. He was such a good traveling companion too. He didn’t speak Spanish, but VJ and I both spoke a little Spanish. So I had a little Spanish but he had German and the, all the classical languages and dead languages and the live languages other than English. And you know, we found the most interesting people because Germans are very interesting anyway. So to find the Germans and that’s how I got started. And then after about, I’m like three, three or four months of travel together, he decided not me that he was gonna go on his own to go to some places <laugh>. But in Mexico I met men. There weren’t very any woman there really doing this. But John Lilly and Timothy Leary and John Cook and I met all these kind of men that had been doing this for 30, 40 years. They were just wonderful. So smart. But what I always think I was attracted to those guys is not their spiritual being, but they’re just basic level of intelligence. You could say something and they would link it to the whole, like Joseph Campbell did. It’d be linked to every mystery and fable there ever was, you know. <laugh>
Andy Vantrease (17:35):
And how did they perceive you and receive you.
India Supera (17:37):
Oh they loved me because I, they used to say I dropped out with ever having to drop in. Cause I was, oh yeah, <laugh>, I was a big age difference. But when I came home those were the people I drew on. You know, I mean Timothy Leary came and helped me out. I had really helped his son with John Junior who had flipped out in Mexico City with drugs. And so he came to the ranch kind of, I mean with his wife as payback and they loved it. They worked with us for several years.
Andy Vantrease (18:09):
So you go to Mexico. You come back.
India Supera (18:12):
And this, this wander lust mood. I mean…
Andy Vantrease (18:15):
Yeah. And then so what…
India Supera (18:16):
It was so beautiful and so enlightening. I don’t know about all the administrators at the lawmakers. I knew a few of them, but the regular everyday people of Mexico are really kind. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean we hear about this Mexican violence and it’s all there. But those aren’t your average people. It’s just like when you read the newspaper that someone killed 15 people but you know, there’s 8 billion people that didn’t kill 15 people.
Andy Vantrease (18:40):
India Supera (18:42):
So thinking about my cat’s death, you know, I’ve been writing everybody this letter about all my cat lives. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I, I really had at least two more, but then I thought of another one. There’s some times you might be very close to your end of life and not know it. But this one in Mexico, when I first got to Guadalajara, I, we just stayed was a expat group, you know, and they were all taking asset and everything, which shocked me that people my father knew were taking out. So when I was finally taking off on my own, I was with Mexican Charlie, we were going to go to meet our friends in Acapulco, Aalty and um, Daniel, we get the train, we go by the first class tickets cause I’m still, I mean I still have US cash. You know, my dad had been kind of footing and bill. So I had what I had mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which was maybe only three or $400, but in those days that was enough for five months in Mexico.
Andy Vantrease (19:39):
India Supera (19:40):
We went to the train station, he goes, he gets a ticket, they put it in the envelop. We didn’t look or anything. But when we go to board the trail and remember we open the envelop to take a look at it for whatever reason. When we get on the train, they had sold us third-class tickets that we hopped back to third class. I mean, we didn’t have time to go fight with them. So we got on the third class compartment, which actually for us was quite fun, you know? Pigs, more…
Andy Vantrease (20:08):
Yeah. More adventure back there.
India Supera (20:11):
And um, then sometime in the middle of the night, the train crash and everyone in the first class compartment or almost everybody would’ve killed. Wow. And when we were in the third class. So that probably counts for one of those death things. Yeah. That I didn’t have counted. I mean we were never in the first class. It would never occurred to me anyway. That was a incredible experience cuz all the little kids jumped out of the train with their chiclets and taking it from jewelry off the passengers.
Andy Vantrease (20:41):
India Supera (20:41):
The police couldn’t get there for…
Andy Vantrease (20:44):
India Supera (20:44):
Just having a gay old time. I mean me, I had several really things that move my faith and push me forward in my….
Andy Vantrease (20:52):
What would you say, like looking back now that you were looking for?
India Supera (20:58):
Adventure. You know, no one ever bullied me. I was never beat up after school. I have a really too smart for, you know, I mean they, the kids that don’t really know how to fight back. But I had VJ to fight back.
Andy Vantrease (21:12):
India Supera (21:14):
Like they just left me alone cuz she’d just take those down in the parking lot. I never had that, but I never had a place either. What do you mean? Like, I had friends, I had everything, but I never really fit in that mold, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I didn’t wanna go to sock hops and I don’t, I was serious already. I was really serious already about my childhood. And I kind of think it was just to find a place. I had this little Indian girlfriend, American Indian, and we used to, um, drive places to get at the beach and stuff. And she had the most beautiful singing points and she knew all the songs from our parents time, you know, that we all love from our parents time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we kind of drive and go to the beach. And I, I really thought every time I was with her, I wanted my life filled more with music mm-hmm. <affirmative> and good times. And, you know, it was too serious. And I felt like I just wanted to find some common-ship that people who would think at least think a little bit the way I did it turned out there was quite a few. Um, and that’s one of the reasons why this vision of the ranch work, because I was able to find people to share that vision like Tom and Heidi and Laughing Water.
Andy Vantrease (22:36):
How, how do you think that you found those people?
India Supera (22:39):
I didn’t. They all showed up here on the doorstep.
Andy Vantrease (22:42):
India Supera (22:43):
Tom was here. Laughing Water was here and his little yellow Hudson Bay blanket and fruit, and he could cook and he just settled in.
Andy Vantrease (22:53):
So let’s talk about the ranch a little bit. In the early days when you finally had settled into it being what you were gonna do, because you kind of fought that a little bit.
India Supera (23:04):
I fought it a lot, but then we did a sweat mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is why there’s so meaningful to me. And I’m glad we’re doing them at their ranch, kind of all. But we did this sweat and I came out of this sweat lodge thinking, this land is your land. This land is my land. And I saw a complete vision of ways, not just one way, but ways this could work. And that was, that was giant. That was a giant ah-hah. So I stayed back and tried to figure out something and I finally went totally discouraged to Sai Baba and he said, you’ll just teach what you know there. And I said, well, I don’t know anything, which is almost true. And he said, well, you know food cause I’ve taught you that I’ve come to the hospital every day and told you how to fix people.
And he says, you know, yoga, you know, astrology. So those were the first three workshops we had. And then we had, um, Robert Monrow was struggling with his work, which was absolutely brilliant. It was journeyed out of the body. He, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he ended up having a place in Virginia that the government bought him really, it just became a government thing, but still wonderful. And was so deep and so compassionate. And he learned because his stuff was found is how to make people leave their bodies. So we’d have 50 people here, the CIA and the, um, somebody from the Navy high up in the Navy. Guys are so well true and do know dancing and saying languages. Anyway, they were all laying in the main room and I was standing by the fire just maybe a day or two before Crystal was born in the kitchen.
This guy comes in with the CIA guy come walking through the whole place in a trance and he says, I don’t know the meaning of this workshop. He said, I can’t figure out, it’s fascinating. But he said, I do know that the Feathered Pipe Ranch is going to be something very important to the American history. So we started the rides really, really simply. I mean, and like I said, I had some folks like John Lilly and um, Jack Schwarz and people that are, you can look, come up. They really famous John Lilly. He did a lot of groundbreaking material with interspecies communication. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and dolphins. And then my nutrition side, when I grew up, we lived in Downey and Dr. Bernard Jensen had a very little health foods tour in Bellflower Boulevard and Bellflower, which was five minutes away save of traffic as we say in la. But, so I went to him such a great cadence and he’s such a good public speaker. And so he was already semi-retired. I mean I think he was like 65 or something.
Andy Vantrease (25:57):
Okay. You were in your mid twenties still at this point.
India Supera (25:59):
Very mid twenties. I was still traveling at 26. Then when I started working the ranch, you know, we just had the most interesting people in the world come because of Sai Baba, you know, some of the wealthiest, most influential people and even most interesting people in the world came here. So I had really a lot of connections. I still do, you can see. And then when the next year I went back to Sai Baba’s, he said, did you open your school yet? And I said, uh, not yet. <laugh> Go do it soon.
Andy Vantrease (26:33):
He wanted you to open a school, or?
India Supera (26:34):
Oh, I don’t know what he wanted, but he kept really open a school, he said, and then I go and he said, how many children? I said, Baba, this is an adult school. Oh <laugh>. Like, what the hell’s that? You know? But then he really started asking, and we did pretty darn well right from the beginning because we were the only ones on the block. Us and Esalen. I mean our Omega wasn’t up yet and running and Kripalu was a guru joint, you know? Mm-hmm.
Andy Vantrease (27:03):
<affirmative> Just thinking about your vision and what you were trying to create in the beginning, the perspective that you have now, what do you feel like it turned out to be or?
India Supera (27:12):
I do think that Feathered Pipe has changed the world. I mean, I actually truly believe that. And I know if someone put that in the magazine, they’d just be laughed out of. But it does, the ranch is known everywhere in the world. I can be Puttaparti India, I can meet 20 people all up that are rushing up to me to ask me about the ranch. You know, I mean, it, it’s amazing. So, and every time someone walked in here for the first time, including me last week when I hadn’t been here for the year, I couldn’t get over the basic beauty. So it’s just amazing. So I know how people feel. Then on the website, Eric, and they have the most beautiful pictures and ever taken of anything. I think <laugh>, I always say, oh, I hope when people see these pictures, they aren’t gonna be upset when they see the actual place place, but everybody advance. Oh, it’s prettier than the pictures.
Andy Vantrease (28:07):
It’s a place where people can come and it’s not transactional. It’s, it’s a place where people can come and they feel like they’re worth it and they have value and they deserve to be here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> without having to be anything except for exactly who they are. Um,
India Supera (28:32):
I think that’s what unique is about the ranch.
Andy Vantrease (28:34):
India Supera (28:35):
Because even for a week out of your life, I, because Eric put this letter out about my health, that absolutely everyone in the world, I doubted the produce-walah in Puttaparti doesn’t know I’m sick coming. He got so, was so thorough. But, so I’ve gotten these lovely, lovely letters from people who haven’t been here for 20 years or 30 years and they said the ranch literally changed my life 30 years ago because now I, I have a place in my mind to go to where there’s quiet and peace. And he never came back, this guy , I mean just like, that was it. I didn’t do it. The place did it. I managed the place. You know, we’ve tried to be good caretakers of the land, but that land in itself is, I look at it as one of the most powerful places on earth.
It’s like the pyramids to me, except it’s upside down and that <inaudible> in the mountains and that blessing place with the water, I really believe that that’s what makes it, it’s like an upside down cathedral to me that I always tell everyone, we spend a bloody fortune to make it look like nothing’s ever changed at the ranch. There’s something about it. I think there’s something about the time it was built in the thirties and I don’t know what it is about Montana, honestly, I could figure out why we ended up staying here. I mean, it wasn’t because everybody leaves Montana, does business even before computers, you know, when we were still on the idea and electric, we were all doing business somewhere else. But Montana just has it. And it doesn’t matter where you are in Montana, you just get away from in the desert in the Rimrock or anywhere you go in the high mountains and the lakes and the rivers.
It’s there at every one of ’em. I did a little block and I listed all the lovely unusual things in Montana that you could just drop in. And did a trip the testicle eating contest and the, and it was the most lovely little thing. I said, this is why I live in this. They a whole bunch of absurd, absolutely crazy. People live there doing pig races, you know. <laugh> One of the things that people on the outside never saw was what we had given this place for people to get jobs and work at and grow through that everybody had been pretty successful who worked at the ranch, you know? Yeah. I can see the connections now cuz you know, I’ve really been sick when I couldn’t even talk on its phone and I didn’t have anybody with me to push me along. I mean, Winter came every day, but it’s not the same Crystal saying, you’re going to eat this food and you’re going do it now.
And they’re both, <laugh> I’m scared to death of both of them anyway. They, um, so, but now I can see why we have all those connections. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, there’s no accident, you know, because the kids that came here that have just as easily been gone, got to 18, gone out and robbed liquor stores, you know, they didn’t have to be turned out to know how to fix everything and cook and think. So I think there’s a reason everybody came here because you know, I mean, I’ve taken a lot of kids and none of ’em are really bad kids. None of them. And they all turned out to be good and they all went on their way and yeah.
Andy Vantrease (32:02):
So what do you think it is about the ranch that helps people?
India Supera (32:06):
If you, someone like Jori who left this year, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> But it, it saved her life. She wasn’t such a chaotic system. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, she’d come out to the ranch and she’d bring the little Shane and her whole life would change. She’d said that all the time. She’d say, if I even be alive today would’ve already killed myself.
Andy Vantrease (32:26):
How does the ranch do that?
Because she loved Sai Condo better than anything. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> And when she stayed up here over night to clean in the morning, she’d stay up there. But right outside Sai Condo were a wonderful, wonderful friend and mentor to Jori is the ashes of my friend Robbie. He’s there. And I think there’s ashes in quite a few places of quite brilliant people. I think that all of that helped people on the other side in the future side, you know, are helping us. But for other people, I don’t know. I mean I’ve got these friends from Great Falls, Lou and his brother Lou was one of the kindest persons I’ve ever met.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he is so sweet. And his brother came, they stay the night with me last summer, and uh, his brother swears by the Stupa, every time he comes here, he doesn’t even stop and dis me. He goes to Stupa and he pats one of the Buddhas and then he goes buy a lottery ticket, <laugh>. And he wins. So everybody after all little reasons why they come to the, and then we’ve had people who have had spontaneous cancer doing to Stupa and I definitely am hoping that I can go down one day and be there for the sweat. That would just be such great spiritual healing. So if I tried to take this marijuana to sleep because they don’t want me to take Tylenol. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So Winter made me the tiniest little pin of marijuana and it didn’t put me to sleep, but it made me where I couldn’t move my limbs and I <laugh>. So I think I’m still not ready for marijuana that way. My friend usually just keep trying it because it’ll build up. But the feel of that and the taste of marijuana, the plant like tar, almost like drinking opium.
Andy Vantrease (34:19):
I mean just from somebody on the outside looking in the feathered pipe and you and everybody who’s involved in it really were part of a paradigm shift.
India Supera (34:29):
Yeah. It was, it was a lot like the hippies and protests for the war. There was a very big paradigm shift and then what we thought, like Laughing Water was an MIT graduate and they chose to work on I think some of the most important issues. And so even if we just did a little bit towards making food organic and making this place a, at the very least more interesting place for people, I think there was a paradigm shift everywhere in our country. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I don’t think it was as big enough. It wasn’t like, here’s what I wish it was when the earth split its access. Africa became something and something else became something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well I kind of have hoped it would be that extreme, but it wasn’t cuz somehow or other the powers to be so that we can’t have all these young really smart kids that aren’t of the ruling class running around. Uh, somehow or other schools have gone up a thousand times and you know, it’s deliberate that we’re doing the un-educating of America.
Andy Vantrease (35:37):
Yeah. I was gonna ask if you see any similarities between what’s happening now and what was happening when you originally left America to kind of get out of…
India Supera (35:49):
You know, I see some similarity. Lauren Walker, she and Eric Myers, separately and not even knowing each other, both left the United States when Reagan was maybe when Bush was in the White House mm-hmm. <affirmative> and now they come back for short periods of time, but they don’t live here. So that was really popular when I was younger. I see a little renaissance of intellect and I see this as a sport because everything’s so expensive now. I mean, I tell Winter and Josh, I said, if you wanted to do what you’re doing in this kitchen, when I did it, you couldn’t have worked for money. You wouldn’t have got paid and you wouldn’t have cared. But because you could live for rent and then whatever else you needed for beer and going out for hamburgers. But um, do you see some similarities? But the [Animal] Farm is a book written, I don’t know, in the sixties or fifties, fire brilliant author and the animals take over the farm. It just says it all. Some are more equals than others as in I said the pigs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I wish we could have that read on public TV and every station every night so the president would know and that people would know that, especially for Trump, the pigs are more equal than everybody else. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> They want to take over again and again, we’ve gone into kind of a, in my mind it’s a 25-year mercury retrograde where nothing goes forward. And if we could break out of that, but, and at the other time though, I don’t think people have be so rowdy and hurt status quo, like bringing down buildings and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, stuff like that. I think it would be really nice if we could, you know, if we don’t want something, don’t buy it. Don’t go to that store. Quick enough, they’ll be gone.
Andy Vantrease (37:41):
What do you think we can be doing on just the level of consciousness and a spiritual?
India Supera (37:47):
I think minimalism is the only thing we can do. I think that instead of building 5,000 square foot houses, we could build houses this size, this big. I have guest feet on it all. I’m probably 900 square feet if you don’t count the basement, you know, you just don’t, you don’t need a lot. Mm-hmm <affirmative> VJ, my sister’s little apartment and it’s just so sweet. I think eating organic is the most revolutionary thing we can do. And I think that’s hard because all the big stores have a trick that they have organic, but they have a few organic and then you’re ending up there and you buy everything. So I was alive in part of the Japanese internment and, and we’ve already had, you know, a couple hundred years of genocide. The largest genocide anywhere in history that we have already recorded is the British and the French killing the Indians down to the point where they killed their, their foods like, and when they raid their made their treaties, they couldn’t grow gardens on their land.
I mean that’s been lifted on some reservations, but I mean really in my lifetime, in the seventies, if someone had more than a tomato plant, they could be arrested because they aren’t allowed to grow food. Because it was a absolute way that the government to get ahold of this. So I know this sounds, doesn’t sound like it answers your question gardens. If people could just consider ’em just like three bean gardens, because if people do their food, the government loads a lot of control over you. Everybody I know who has any kind of garden is happy. You know, even if it’s not a food garden, they just, they’re raising something and that makes them really, really, really happy. You can’t go out and buy the new newest products. You can’t go buy the newest car. You can’t go get a 5,000 square foot house. They’ve trained us all that we don’t have enough.
And that’s why the middle class feels pitched and like rich people feel pinched and white. Everybody feels pinched because no one feels they have enough. And then all the rhetoric that goes on is designed to make us angry. This is of course stolen from Andrew Weil, but he says go on weeks newspaper fast and just not buying into their constant fear. And, but they do so much to scare you like the um, the Russian collusion report. They just do everything to scare you. If this happens, this is gonna happen. Then the whole thing’s over and we got nothing. You know, I mean it’s not like, but they spent months scaring everybody. So you just have to realize that. So one of their purposes, like those talking heads is just to make sure you are scared all the time. And believe it or not, meditation and the are just the best because they get you centered so you can work. If you go into fighting without being completely centered, you are going to be the one who gets off balance and gets hurts, they’re, they’re running off balance.
I’m getting right up to the end of whatever times I have in this body. I mean even if it’s six months or ten months or you know, I’m in my third act. Everything I’m doing in an interesting way other than all the extra labor I have to put on my family is it’s all going to the future. And the future is really exciting to me. I mean none of us know, I don’t care, care how much you study, what you think, you know, nobody has an idea of what happens on the other side. I mean we do have some inkling because we’ve all had dreams of our mothers who passed or you know, Sai Baba who passed or your sister or it is really, really about the parts unknown and that’s what makes it so exciting.
It could be that I get to see all my friends, which now are much more or dead than they were living. You know, by the time you get your seventies you have quite a group of friends that jumped out of the body. It’s still so stressful on every level. I mean I just, every time I kept saying I was just cold stone after the diagnosis, but what really happened is I was affected by the bad news just like everybody else. And every time I would get that bad news, something more and keep adding, you know, they get you back in the office and add another little thing that when I was on that side of the bad news, I had to um, I mean I just got sicker and sicker. So the thing about right now is my stories aren’t the same because I don’t have the stories of the future.
But you can make any stories you wanna go along with that. I’m going to, the arms are Christ, get to see Sai Baba again. I mean you get to, you get to pick that in your own personal narrow little philosophies that you have enough thought waves to get to. You know? So we have to figure out how to do the flow of it without terrifying ourselves and our family, which is not easy. That’s a very hard one. And the other one is to be able to be strong enough because even at the state I am with this cancer, they wanna do stuff, they wanna do chemotherapy, they wanna do this and they wanna do that. And I just said no, because I don’t wanna spend the last year of my life being sick. I am sick enough without having to throw up from chemotherapy too. So I wanna spend this time in a mindful way.
And what is so funny because um, I don’t know if you’ve ever done mindful meditation, but mindful meditation is set. The staging of it is that you don’t necessarily talk and you do everything with consciousness. You walk with consciousness, eat with consciousness. And when you come back out of your 12-day meditation or 10-day meditation, you’re supposed to speak with confidence. And it’s so funny cuz you’re with these people for like 10 or 12 days and you’ve never sent a word. And uh, then you come out and by the end of 12 days you hate, I hated everybody cause they’re all moved too slow. They chewed too loud, you know, they sat too close to the wall. I can’t tell you there’s a million reasons they hate ’em all. And, but when you open your mouth, you’re absolutely in love with every one of them because it’s hard to sit for 10 days without talking and without small talking, without, you know.
But what you do realize is that most of the talk we do anyway is not very useful and necessary. So it’s fun. I mean, having conversations is fun. So as I said right now with the practices to have mindful meditations, and that’s what this is because, um, my body is so weak I can’t do things like turn myself over in bed. And it’s exhausting. It’s absolutely exhausting. It was exhausting when I was doing it and I could move. The conscious meditation like today, Crystal harm me with the bat. And I thought and thought and thought and thought how to get in the tub. And that worked, but didn’t work as well was getting out because I was so angst about getting in with the bucket bath and everything. My blessed humble bucket bath is what I’m using now. But so when we went to get out, it was like a shock to me that by not having thought that through at least a dozen times, I couldn’t just get up and do it. Uh, it was really, really hard. And, and of course we’re we’re improvising something easier, which is another fun thing about that. We get to think of bat pens on the porch and other stuff. But, so I think when everybody gets to the, you know, to starting to plan their dead, they all have to think about things and how to do it and do it. And I don’t care if you read a jackhammer your old life, you still have to consciously move. Otherwise you can’t do anything when you’re sick. Anything.
Andy Vantrease (46:46):
Just looking back on your life, I mean, what do you see?
India Supera (46:50):
Yeah, I can see extreme, shear gratitude for everyone I’ve ever known. And for them knowing me and me knowing them. And sometimes I feel pretty poor because I don’t have money like other people my age, I never did a retirement or anything. But then I think, okay, this is a person who can choose to live in three different houses, not poor when you have a place to stay. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I see my life as a love fest. The whole thing as a giant love fest. And like I said in the letter, it’s, it just seems like all my karma is catching up. But looking back, I really, I don’t have a single person. I know someone who’s mad at me, but I can’t figure out why. And I don’t know if I should call them, but I probably will call them. But, um, I don’t have anybody that I’m angry with or ever have been angry with for any length of time.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don’t have anger as well. I haven’t talked to that person for 15 years and now I’m dying. I wonder. I don’t have anything like that. I have nothing. I mean, my one regret is that when I was like 13, I stole a bottle of fingernail polish on a dare from the store. <laugh>. I mean, but I’ve always known truthfully what isn’t, isn’t yours, isn’t yours, you know, it was something bigger for me than just taking a bottle of nail polish. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, everything I’ve ever can think of doing, like having an ice cream cone at SaveOn and my sister, you know, and our girlfriend and walking with a delicious ice cream and a California sun. You know, just everything from my home memory even I’ve got about three years ago, a trip I led to India had a gal in it, but her mother and my mother were friends because her mother owned a local store for clothes that we shopped in.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative> all the time. Cause it was really good clothes. Even though I didn’t know these people were touching my life back then, they were, you know, because mm-hmm. <affirmative>, she became very successful also on her own because you see all men doing stuff and you, well you don’t necessarily think you’re going to run the mechanic shop or do. You think you make the clothes or something. But, um, all the opportunities that parents exposed us to, you know, women that were well educated in who felt well and, you know, just gratitude. I don’t even know. I, Nat was here yesterday I was saying, sorry I don’t even know what to say. It’s just a continuing scream of gratitude. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> of which I think I’ll take it with me. And I think if this other life to enjoy, I’ll come back to one because of that. And I think I’ll fall right into the same gratitude.
I look back and I look at my life and I think the only thing I’ve ever prepared for was to die. And everything else was just serendipity, running the ranch, you know, going to Sai Baba. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well all of those things helped me because of people we studied with were all people that thought about things like dying and stuff like that. But looking back, like I said, I wouldn’t change the thing. I wouldn’t, there’s just nothing. I can’t think of a single thing if I had done this instead of that. I don’t have anything bad to report on my trip. Don’t think I was ever stolen from, I don’t think anyone ever arrived me, that I didn’t get it back. And I’m sure that I never got kidnapped, although sometimes that was a little iffy because people were so insistent on taking you home. You know, those are all things that could have happened to somebody and ruined their life. But somehow I was, was on the gentle path. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and you know, in the end I like myself pretty much. It doesn’t matter, the rest of the crowd don’t. Anyway. Things that might have felt like a mistake and just don’t now.
Andy Vantrease (50:39):
India Supera (50:40):
Andy Vantrease (50:42):
Do you have any thoughts or any advice or words for like next generation?
India Supera (50:49):
Don’t try to stuff college in and then your job and then decide at 45 have a crisis. You know, if you finish your college or not, because you can always finish it when you get back from your travel. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> You can travel, you can meet people, it can direct you in your career. It can do all kinds of wonderful things. Um, no sense to wait. And the thing is that if you wait, and this is really solid advice, people don’t believe me. If you wait even to the fifties, which is everybody pretty strong in their fifties, it’s not the same as, you know, throwing your suitcase on a train, jumping out, hiking 26 kilometers just cuz you want. So I’m saying don’t be afraid to try fail. It doesn’t matter. I mean, that’s another reason to travel first. Cause it doesn’t make a difference when you have kids in college and all of, and your business felt, but,
Andy Vantrease (51:48):
And you have ties and you have people to take care of.
India Supera (51:50):
Mm mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So I, they do all the traveling, all the adventure, all the vision making. And then when you come back and get old, you can go to retreats like the Feathered Pipe Ranch that remind you of your problems.
Andy Vantrease (52:03):
Andy Vantrease (52:18):
India Supera, I can still remember getting the call from her in spring of 2016, a follow up from a letter I had written to the ranch, asking to come out and spend time there. I was in great need of healing my body and spirit at the time. And she created space for me, gave me opportunities to write, to study yoga, to rest and rejuvenate in ways that I can’t even explain with words. She would always say to me, stop working in grocery stores and focus on your writing. You’re a writer. She encouraged so many of us. Like this, gave us permission to try new things, to dare to explore our dreams and visions for our lives. We will always remember her huge heart, her endless stories, her optimistic outlook on life, even in the most difficult times and above all, above all her kindness. She proved that life is one massive adventure to be lived and explored to its fullest. And she modeled that up until her last breath. Thank you India, for your beauty walk. For more information on her life, legacy, and the nonprofits that she supported and believed in, visit featheredpipe.com.
A special thank you to Matthew Marsolek and the Drum Brothers, whose music you hear at the beginning and end of this podcast, as well as Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen, who first turned us on to the phenomenon of the Dandelion Effect and how ideas move through the world.
This podcast is a production of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, a 501c3 dedicated to healing, education, community and empowerment. If you’d like to help support this project, please visit FeatheredPipe.com/gratitude or leave a review on Apple podcasts and share with your friends. Be sure to tune in to our next episode in two weeks. We cannot wait to share another amazing conversation with you. Until then, have a beautiful day.